Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Pens 4 – Pirates 3 (SO)

If you noticed me on Twitter tonight you noticed a much more reserved game call. The reason for that was that Chris Roy from the Maine Hockey Journal contacted me earlier this week and asked if I would do some freelance work for him. Of course I volunteered. Chris was able to get me a press credential for the night so I sat in the WBS press box again which is why if you were at the game, you did not see me in my regular center ice seat.

There are rules up here that I must abide by. The golden rule is “no cheering.” So I went with that on the game call on Twitter and kept it level (as best I could)

I thought about writing two stories. One for Chris, one for the blog. I figured I would let you, the reader, see what I came up with for Roy and enjoy it from there.

Chris may edit this down to a humble paragraph. I won’t know till tomorrow. Without further delay, here it is. Let me know in comments what you think:

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The first ten minutes of Saturday’s game against the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton couldn’t have gone any better for the Portland Pirates.

The next ten, and ultimately the final 45 with overtime, were a much different story.

The Portland Pirates earn a point in the first meeting of the year with the Penguins, 4-3 via the shootout.

The first ten minutes of the game were tight checking, disciplined hockey. Then, three seconds after a penalty to Pirates defenseman David Rundblad expired, Penguins center Riley Holzapfel cut to the net where Paul Thompson fed him a pass off a rebound of a Joe Morrow shot. Then, 1:23 later, Trevor Smith scored the first of two goals in the period for him off a pass from Penguins rookie Beau Bennett. Smith would later go on to pick the pocket of Phil Lane trying to get the puck out of the Pirates defensive and wired a shot over the glove of Visentin.

It was a second period of fortunes for the Pirates as they took advantage of special teams with Brandon Gormley scoring his first professional goal on the power play. Chris Brown and Chris Conner worked some magic with Conner feeding Brown with Penguins defenders draped all over him.

The third period would not slow the Pirates down in the momentum department. Despite being outshot by the Penguins 13-7, they still managed to pull even off a wild sequence when Captain Alexandre Bolduc would bring the Pirates even with his team leading 7th goal of the season. Portland continued to press but got caught by the referee’s whistle as they would have to kill two penalties, but the Portland penalty killing unit would successfully do so. They would then receive two penalties, one from Penguins defenseman Dylan Reese at the end of the third but could not get the go ahead goal.

In overtime, the Pirates outshot the Penguins 8-2 and really blitzkrieged Thiessen with an array of shots but the Penguins netminder held the Pirates out of his net.

Benn Ferriero and Eric Tangradi scored in the shootout. No Pirates were able to get past Thiessen.

“First ten minutes I thought we were fine, then we gave them room to move and to skate and they started to push back.” Coach Ray Edwards said after the game. “I liked the way we fought back there in the second and responded to get a couple back and ultimately fight to get a point. Managing momentum was a big part of the game.”

Mark Visentin stopped 38 of 41 shots to fall to 1-1-1 in the season. Brad Thiessen improved to 2-1, stopping 36 of 39.

Biddeford native and Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin was scoreless, but managed a +2 for the evening.

Heavyweights Joel Rechlicz and Steve MacIntyre both dressed but did not square off.

The Pirates were 1 for 4 on the power play and the Penguins were 0 for 5.

The Pirates face-off against the Hershey Bears tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 p.m.

Not bad, huh?

Alright. Paying off the rest of the blog with the stuff you read about after the game recap:

Around the Division: St. John’s beats Hershey in Chocolatetown 2-1. Binghamton beats Norfolk 4-2. Rochester beat Syracuse in my game to watch 5-2. Seems that the Penguins and Amerks have the Crunch’s number this year.

Standings: Syracuse 16 — Norfolk 12 — Binghamton 12 — Penguins 12 — Hershey 11

Wheeling Update: Nailers get dropped by the Walleye again 5-3. Keven Veilleux registered an assist, Cody Chupp a goal, Carl Sneep an assist. Patrick Killeen stopped 22 of 27.

Penguins are off until Wednesday when they host the Springfield Falcons.

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